The strike by three thousand workers launched by the IUF-affiliated Food and Allied Workers’ Union (FAWU) on December 22 at SAB Miller’s ABI Soft Drinks Division has now entered its second month.
The union is demanding a 9.5% wage increase, fair overtime payment for Saturday work and an end to the further use of labour brokers and the “Driver-Owner Schemes” which convert lorry drivers into “independent” owner operators and their crews into casual workers deprived of decent working conditions and job security. FAWU stresses that these schemes, presented as “black empowerment”, are in fact a means of dividing the workforce and creating inferior conditions in delivery services.
The strike has received huge support from workers at all four ABI production plants, and triggered a one-day sympathy strike of SAB brewery workers. The IUF Coca-Cola Alliance and its affiliates have declared their support.
Negotiations are stalled as ABI, rather than entering into constructive negotiations to address the union’s demands, is trying to blackmail strikers and the union by alleging that workers have used violence – without, however, providing evidence to substantiate the claims.
SAB is also using large numbers of scabs, allegedly booking them hotels and, according to FAWU, requiring them to work up to 60 hours a week, leading to accidents due to fatigue.
FAWU remains firm in demanding that SAB/ABI stop the spread of casual, poor quality jobs. They’ve international solidarity and support, and you can help! Click here to send a message to ABI management today expressing your support for FAWU’s demands and urging the company to start negotiating.